Published on July 29, 2020

paper lanterns lining steps outsidePin It
Photography by Zainab Shamis-Saleem

Zainab Shamis-Saleem’s family has a long-standing tradition for Eid al-Adha. “Usually we would be ready with fresh clothes to head to our local mosque for the congregational prayer, to exchange greetings of peace with our community, and hand out Eid cards,” she says. “We may swing by a neighbor for tea and a spot of brunch on the way home.” This year, the London-based founder of the Montessori Studio (and mother of two) will be making a few adjustments as she gears up to celebrate on July 30—but there’s one part of the ritual that won’t be changing. “We typically have lots of people around for a lovely barbecue. Now we’ll be keeping all the socializing within the family and stay outdoors as much as possible…but we’ll still have our best clothes on and lots of treats for the children!” she notes. 

She’s decking out her garden party with a collection of paper luminaries, tapping her kids to get involved in the fun. “Making easy crafts is a great way of encouraging my children to become excited about this festive time,” she explains. Her 2-year-old and 4-year-old helped her stencil each of the 20 bags, poking holes and cutting shapes to make the custom creations. 

If you’re planning your own socially distanced Eid get-together (or just want an activity your little ones can get in on, too), these lanterns are a great way to dress up your patio or lawn. Shamis-Saleem suggests personalizing them with any number of shapes or initials. “They can also be reused to take home sweets and cake,” she says. We love a decor accent that doubles as a party favor. Here’s how she DIYed the festive lights.

The Supplies

  • Paper bags (Shamis-Saleem used these biodegradable Amazon options)
  • A tool to punch holes with—pens, pencils, pins, thread rippers, screwdrivers, knives, and scissors all work
  • A few pins
  • A selection of stencils to fit the front of the bags
  • A cardboard or foam block to rest upon
  • Battery-operated LED candle lights
  • A handful of stones, pebbles, or sand 

Step 1: Lay Everything Out

Rest your paper bag on cardboard or foam block, folded flat so the stencil will come out through both sides. Choose your stencil and pin it on the front of the bag to secure. 

Step 2: Create Your Pattern

Cut, poke, or slice your designs through the stencil onto the bag—no problem if you miss a few spots here and there. We found using a thread ripper to be the most accurate method!

Step 3: Light It Up

Drop a battery-operated tea light inside the bag, along with a bit of sand or a pebble to weigh it down and keep it in place on windier nights. Place the bags outside, on a patio or even in plants, and wait for dusk for the luminaries to really shine. 

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